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Food Safer at McDonalds Than in Schools?

By Greg Plotkin, on

For parents who make a conscience effort to steer their children away from fast-food hamburgers and chicken nuggets, a new report may also make them think twice about allowing their kids to consume the meat served in lunchrooms across the country.

A USA Today investigation found that meat served at many fast-food restaurants in the U.S. is actually of higher quality and requires more stringent safety standards than the meat that is sold by the United States Department of Agriculture to many U.S. schools.

Companies reportedly with higher food safety standards include McDonalds and Jack in the Box. (Yes, that's the same Jack in the Box where an E. coli outbreak in 1993 sickened hundreds of people and killed three children; and the same McDonalds that saw dozens of people in Illinois become ill with hepatitis A in the summer of 2009 after eating at one of its restaurants.)

The USDA contends that the meat they buy for the National School Lunch Program "meets or exceeds standards in commercial products," however, USA Today found that fast-food restaurants test their meat products as much as 10 times more often than the USDA does.

Many experts find this especially worrisome because it's children who are most susceptible to food-borne illnesses. Their immune systems simply aren't advanced enough to fight off the bacteria, and the result is not only stomach pains and diarrhea, but also long-term health consequences including kidney failure and premature death.

Further proof of the lack of food safety standards practiced by the USDA can be found in beef purchases made to supply the National School Lunch Program between 2001 and 2009. During this time, the USDA purchased 38 million pounds of ground beef from a notoriously lax California beef packing plant owned by agribusiness giant Cargill. The plant has been linked to millions of pounds of contaminated beef, including 450,000 pounds purchased by the USDA in June 2009 (which, by the way, still made it into school cafeterias).

Next week, the USDA plans to offer several lawmakers a sampling of school lunches in order to show the improvements the agency has made in providing nutritious food to the nation's students. But if I were them, I'd think twice about biting into that lunchroom hamburger.

Please take a minute to let the USDA know that school lunches should be safer than fast-food hamburgers.

No Beef-Lamb-Pork

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health.  We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice.  We, personally, have found that a vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found.   Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body.  If you have a health problem, see your own physician.

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